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GreenCarReports: 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show Coverage Page 2

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Rear wheels are driven by both engine and electric power, while the front wheels are driven just by electrons. The electric range is up to 31 miles, BMW says, with 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. And fuel efficiency? More than 60 miles per gallon.

BMW will also show its first two production hybrids: the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid and 7 Series ActiveHybrid, each vehicle paralleled by a competitor from Mercedes-Benz.

The BMW 7-Series Hybrid is a mild hybrid sedan with lithium-ion cells. It follows the S400 Hybrid sedan from Mercedes-Benz, the world's first production hybrid car to use a lithium-ion battery.

The US-built X6 ActiveHybrid is based on the Two-Mode technology developed with GM, largely for full-size sport utilities and trucks.

Mercedes-Benz E-Cell Plus extended-range electric car, Frankfurt Motor Show, 2009

Mercedes-Benz E-Cell Plus extended-range electric car, Frankfurt Motor Show, 2009

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MERCEDES-BENZ

So far, no details have filtered out on any new concepts from Mercedes-Benz. Still, every other year, the company unveils a "Vision" concept car. At the last Frankfurt Motor Show, it was the stunning 42-MPG full-size sedan F700 Vision concept.

We strongly suspect there's more news to come. Stay tuned to GreenCarReports.com, and we'll bring you any updates as they happen.

We do know that the company will show a revised model of its BlueZero E-Cell Plus extended-range electric car, one of three BlueZero concepts shown at the Detroit Auto Show.

In January, the E-Cell Plus had a total range of 375 miles, 60 of them in pure electric mode from a 17.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The extra range came from a 67-horsepower, turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine adapted from the one in the Smart ForTwo.

In either mode, the 0-to-62-mph time is quoted as less than 11 seconds.

Benz claimed a recharge of an hour or less for that 60 miles of electric range, using special high-voltage charging equipment. For standard home outlets, it's more like six hours.

2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid

2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid

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Also on display will be the Mercedes-Benz ML450 BlueHybrid which, like the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, uses the Two-Mode Hybrid system jointly developed by GM, Daimler, Chrysler, and BMW. It will join the S400 Hybrid full-size sedan, launched last year, the world's first production hybrid car to use a lithium-ion battery.

Mercedes is also likely to show smaller engines in its cars. It has been pushing hard to downsize engines in general, and will likely offer a four-cylinder diesel E-Class in the US within a year or two.

Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 Concept

Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 Concept

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PEUGEOT

Neither one will be available in the US market,  but Peugeot is planning to show two groundbreaking diesel-electric hybrids, becoming the first maker to put a hybrid-electric vehicle with a diesel engine into production.

That vehicle is previewed in the thinly disguised 3008 HYbrid4 Concept, a crossover utility vehicle. Peugeot will also show a diesel-hybrid version of its sporty RCZ coupe.

Renault Kangoo be bop ZE electric vehicle

Renault Kangoo be bop ZE electric vehicle

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RENAULT

The other French carmaker's big announcement will be its new compact Fluence sedan. Unless it's adapted as a future Saturn (now that GM is selling off that division), we won't see it in the States.

But a version of the Fluence is supposedly the sedan Renault is developing for the Better Place project, including a removable battery pack. Engineers will be poring over that one, you can imagine.

The Renault EVs, which share their electric drive and battery pack with the recently announced 2012 Nissan Leaf from its alliance partner, are eagerly awaited as the first mass-production EVs from a major manufacturer to be sold in Europe.


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